3 Australian Advanced Ordnance Depot and Vehicle Park (3 AAOD)
4 Australian Advanced Ordnance Depot (4 AAOD)
- Supply facility
- Brisbane City
Mains Road and Kessels Road, Macgregor 4109
Established as a US Army motor pool in 1942, it was transferred to the Australian Army in 1943. The Mt Gravatt vehicle park, a motor transport repair and storage facility, was operated initially by the Australian 3rd Advanced Ordnance Depot and from 1944 by the 4th Advanced Ordnance Depot. The vehicle park with its repair facilities was located at the intersection of Kessels and Main Roads, near the Bulimba Creek Bridge. Kitchen, toilet and shower facilities were placed on the other side of Mains Road in an unused section of the Mt Gravatt Cemetery Reserve. The Australian Women’s Army Service undertook some of the work. At war’s end, the site stored the army vehicles that were ready for private sale.
By November 1942, the United States Army had established a large motor pool for vehicle storage in a paddock located at the corner of Kessels and Main Roads, opposite the Mt. Gravatt Cemetery. The cemetery had opened in 1918 but was still largely undeveloped by World War Two. Being an open vehicle depot, the Americans only needed to construct a small number of scattered buildings on the site.
In mid-1943, the Australian Army’s 3rd Advanced Ordnance Depot (3AAOD) moved onto this large, 50-acre site near the Mt Gravatt Cemetery to use the site as a motor vehicle park. The main section of the vehicle park was located across the road from the cemetery at the southeast corner of the intersection of Mains and Kessels Roads. By 15 July 1943, a mess hall with attached kitchen and butcher’s shop plus two other buildings had been placed at an undeveloped corner of the Mt Gravatt Cemetery Reserve, across Mains Road from the former motor pool. This is now the ANZ Stadium site. Another two general-purpose buildings were proposed for this, the kitchen and ablutions block, of the 3AAOD motor vehicle park. On the other side of Mains Road, the main vehicle park expanded the length of Kessels Road as far as Bulimba Creek, which became one of its perimeters.
By 7 September 1943, the kitchen and ablutions block in the Cemetery Reserve had been completed so that officers, NCOs and other ranks each had their own facilities in separate buildings. The main vehicle park had four internal roads centred upon a large Outward Convoy Assembly area. The site contained two large vehicle parks placed in an open field. Other parts of the vehicle park held a proposed motorcycle store, workshops for both major and minor vehicle repairs, a tool store and carpenter’s shop, a petrol pump, a butane store and a few small buildings. Both the major and minor repair workshops had been allotted space across Mains Road in the Cemetery Reserve and the plan included fencing off part of Mains Road to provide security for the entire site. This proposal was soon dropped.
The vehicle park was completed by November 1943. Over the previous two months, it had been expanded and reorganised with previously allotted areas repositioned elsewhere to make way for the new areas that provided more motor repair services to the army. The vehicle park had grown to encompass over 20 buildings spread across a site accessed by a grid system of internal roads. These buildings were workshops, spare parts stores, oil stores, a few offices and a central air raid shelter. The vehicle park had defined components: Workshop Area, Unit Transport Area, Major Repair Area, Minor Repair Area, Deferred Sentence Area, Vehicle Preparation, Convoy Preparation, Ear Marked Vehicles, Serviced Vehicles, Service Station and Written Off Vehicles. It handled an assortment of vehicles, heavy and light trucks, ambulances, fire tenders, cars, Dodge weapons carriers, jeeps, amphibious jeeps and two-wheeled trailers. The vehicles were operated and serviced mainly by members of the Australian Army Women’s Service (AWAS). No accommodation was provided on site though the women were provided with a sperate ablutions block within the main site. A high fence surrounded the entire vehicle park, with the site guarded by members of the militia’s 1st Garrison Battalion.
In January 1944, after a further expansion of the vehicle park, the controlling unit was redesignated 4th Australian Advanced Ordnance Depot (4AAOD). Captain N.S. Morgan was attached to the 4AAOD headquarters that ran the site. By April 1945, the 2nd Australian Imperial Force’s (AIF) 2/3rd Infantry Battalion’s workshop company was also on-site.
After the war ended in August 1945, the vehicle park became a storage area for thousands (one source suggests a 60,000 site capacity) of army vehicles, of all types, that were awaiting sale or scrapping. A small accommodation block was established around the mess halls in the Cemetery Reserve, to provide accommodation for personnel (including AWAS) guarding or handling the disposal of these military vehicles.
All the structures that were part of the 3AAOD and 4AAOD Mt Gravatt Motor Vehicle Park have been demolished except one. In 1946, after the local member of Federal Parliament Sir Joshua Francis made representations, a standard ex-US Army timber hut was moved to Logan Road, where it has become the Upper Mt. Gravatt Progress Association Hall. The former AAOD site now contains a large commercial precinct at the corner of Kessels and Mains Roads plus a housing estate incorporating Omeo, Grout, Nidalla, Worrell (part of), Vievers and Bedser Streets, Macgregor.
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Brisbane City Council, 1946 aerial photographs
National Archives of Australia (Series BP378/1) - Layout of 3 Aust. A.O.D. Vehicle Park, (Drawing No.L&S 803, 15 July 1943).
3 Aust. Adv. Ord. Depot MT Vehicle Park Mt Gravatt, (Drawing No.890, 7 September 1943).
Vehicle Park Mt. Gravatt, (Drawing No.1166, November 1943).
Dunn, P. Australia@war